Michaela Fried is a student leader in LAVI and current president of Tikvah Students for Israel at UC Berkeley. She also serves the Berkeley pro-Israel community as aHasbara Fellow and held theStandWithUs Emerson Fellow position on her campus for the 2013-14 school year.Michaelawas a leading organizer in the fight against BDS (Boycott Divestments Sanctions) and works year round against anti-Israel sentiment on campus. Growing up in Los Angeles, Michaela experienced her Jewish identity and connection to Israel assuperficial and unexplored. Through her involvement with LAVI, she has come to the belief that some of the greatest threats facing the Jewish people today result from a lack of depth in Diaspora Zionist education. She is seeking to participate in the next World Zionist Congress in hopes of promoting a more compelling Zionism that can inspire her generation.
As the former director of Mayanot’s Birthright Israel program, YosefEsshaghiancontinues to lead yearly trips to Israel on which he works to connect students and young adults to their Jewish identities, culture and homeland. He also organizes many Birthright follow-up programs in the Los Angeles area for participants seeking to deepen their Jewish knowledge in the wake of their Israel experience. An active member of LA’s growing Jewlicious movement, Yosef and his wife Jamie received the organization’s community leadership award in 2013. He also serves as the official gabbai at Jewlicious’snew Pico Shul.
Shai Haddad – better know as rapper Shi360 – is the only hip hop artist promoting Zionism internationally, having represented Israel through the ministry of foreign affairs and touring North American university campuses to promote Jewish national rights. A respected early pioneer of Israel’s burgeoning hip hop scene and a founder of the Alternative Action movement, Shai works to advance dialogue between Jews and other Middle Eastern peoples on the basis of Semitic unity and mutual recognition.
As the Executive Director of Artists 4 Israel, Craig Dershowitz uses the arts to aggressively defend, promote and celebrate the Jewish people’s artistic and cultural legacy. As an activist against propagandists who target Israel as a front for censorship in general, Craig has been recognized by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – as well as several other Israeli ministers, lawmakers and public figures – as being on the cutting edge of Israel advocacy today. His efforts – featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MTV and much of the art-centric media – express the cultural freedoms that make Israel a creative focal point for the world.
Jessica Felber is the Executive Director of the DOREINU movement and a doctoral student at UCLA, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, with a special emphasis on Israel Studies. As an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, Jessica was the president of Tikvah Students for Israel, a Hasbara Fellow and a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow. Following her graduation, she worked as the California Campus Coordinator for Hasbara Fellowships and then as the West Coast Director of Jerusalem U. While completing her Masters degree at UCLA, Jessica created her own non-profit organization, DOREINU, aimed at inculcating Jewish young adults in the United States with a strong sense of Jewish identity and national consciousness.
Rabbi Gabriel Reiss is the Director of Israel Activities for LAVI OLAMI and founder of its ATID student think-tank. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he completed officers training in the Israeli Air Force and served operationally in the IDF’s elite EGOZ anti-guerrilla unit in Lebanon. Gabriel is currently involved in several grassroots social justice movements and peace initiatives between Jews and Arabs in Israel’s disputed Judea region where he lives with his wife and four children. He is a frequent lecturer on history, Jewish identity and Zionist ideology, having completed a triple major in philosophy, economics and political science at Hebrew University.